Saturday 28 March 2015

Looking Forward: APRIL 2015

A rather quiet month, with just the one blockbuster I'm really looking forward to...

Furious 7 (Apr 3-USA, Apr 3-UK, Apr 2-Singapore)

          Never any doubt, was there? That this is going to be the one. Putting aside the tragic loss of Paul Walker, I've always liked the franchise, which has grown to become more than what the series started out to be. The story has changed and incorporated more family drama to it. Furious 6 has everything there is to like and everything the franchise is all about. Now, with a change of director, and the loss of one of the main star - my conviction of the quality of this franchise is slightly shaken.
          Furthermore, as exciting as the trailers may be, it only appear to show that the film tried to outmatch the previous film, which I fear may be the wrong move. Furious 6 struck hard because of flip cars, tanks, and planes. But going another level higher may be foolish. Besides, how much further can they go? Airdrops & skyscraper jumps may just be a little too much.
          It may yet be another exciting flick in the Furious franchise, and I certainly hoped it to be so. I just have that tingling sense that the franchise should have taken a different direction. And yet, the story of this one is built upon what happened in Furious 6, so I have a good feeling about the story.

Trailers: (Trailer #1) (Trailer #2)

Other Movies:

Child 44 (Apr 17-USA, Apr 17-UK)

          The film seem to be of the mystery murder genre. And they do have some exciting cast...but apart from curiosity, I don't feel like this film have anything specific to offer.


Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (Apr 17-USA, Apr 17-UK, Apr 16-Singapore)

          A sequel to the comercially successful comedy Paul Blart: Mall Cop.


The Age of Adaline (Apr 24-USA, May 8-UK)

          A romance fantasy with a very curious plot, about this woman who have never aged after almost eight decades.


Sunday 22 March 2015


"Find them...every last one of them"

          Before I wrote this, I took a quick peek at what I wrote about Divergent a year ago, and I must say, what I wrote back then, feels like its responded/answered in Insurgent. Without spoiling anything, what I said about the weirdness & extremity of the world, is answered. About the villain, well it turns out that Kate Winslet's character is sticking around but the character works for the story. 

          And I mentioned that there's too many characters in Divergent, not in's easier to catch on with the characters here. Finally, while Divergent's ending is abrupt and begs for a sequel, Insurgent feels complete by the end, and begs of no sequel, really (although there is one - well, actually two, in terms of know, the splitting trend).

          For most of the part of this movie, it feels generally like any other middle chapter. Picking up right where we left off the characters, jumping right into the action, progressing from one place to the other, one mission to the next. The characters have been well established, and there's less characters to follow, so we can connect more with them. And I have to say, surprisingly, I like Miles Teller's character - his allegiance is unclear and feels like a very multi-dimensional character, and provides a lot of the humour/jokes. (Now, I'm more confident of him in playing Mr. Fantastic in the upcoming Fantastic Four...).

          Now, meanwhile, the last half hour of the film felt very intense and there's a lot of revelation. So, while most of the film felt generically entertaining, the final act of the film is so intriguing and suspenseful, with a small almost-twist* in between, and a game-changing resolution to the act. It was a very powerful ending, but as I said previously, didn't really beg for more, as it feels like a complete ending on its own.

(* = short spoiler paragraph below the verdict)


          Both fans and non-fans should really be able to enjoy this. A decent film on its own. Apart from the intense final act, the film has nothing special to offer, but still entertaining, nevertheless - with some great action sequences, humour, and character. While not begging for the sequel to come soon, here's hoping it could follow up a good start by Divergent, and now Insurgent, too.

SCORE: 7.0


          The almost-twist I'm talking about is when Tris seemingly died. Now, logically, it shouldn't be the case, because we all know the story has to continue to the sequel. So, the whole time, I was waiting for the already-expected twist to come out. But in that moment, I was momentarily shocked in what I'm seeing, and it still provides some suspense, and more importantly, intrigue, as to how the twist will play out. Not bad, though!

Wednesday 18 March 2015


"A long night, huh, Jimmy?"

          Its not too hard to imagine that people would compare this to the Taken franchise...and from me, Run All Night has more substance in the plot, but lacks the smartness of the action sequences. It has that same feel of a Liam Neeson action flick we've gotten used to...but it still good enough for those wanting more of these.

          Its good because the plot is more character-driven. There's a lot more heart & drama between the characters, and you can always feel the intensity of what these characters feel, even the antagonist. It's not some glorified action flick, but whatever fight that had to happen, has a good, justifiable reason behind it.

          With all this, however, apparently they had to sacrifice the action. The fight sequences are less interesting & less clever, if you compare to other Liam Neeson action flicks. Its less dynamic in here, and more of a plain punch & shoot. Furthermore, what made it even less exciting is a good villain. The main antagonist (played by Ed Harris) is brilliant but never looked threatening and that's what this film is lacking. A threatening, terrifying villain (Mr. Price is not so).

          The tone is darker and grittier than most, and it fails to balance it with some humour. The tone could have been balanced with some humour and some exciting, dynamic action, but it didn't. The soundtrack was decent, and so was the direction. It's an action film that works and is good enough to fill the time, but won't be as memorable or as catchy as the Taken series.


Good: Decent plot, Good substance & depth, Character-driven

Bad: Lacks dynamism, Minimal humour, Weak villain

SCORE: 6.0

Saturday 14 March 2015


"Have courage, and be kind..."

          A classic tale presented as magical as the original was. Unlike Maleficent, it did not venture into untold territories. But even as it sticks to the story that everyone knows, it is done so beautifully and with so much effort on all parts - with so much heart & soul, if you will. There is nothing special about it apart from that it resurrected a classic story as beautiful as can be.

          I can't seem to find words logical enough to explain why this film was amazingly done. With a classic plot that almost everyone knows - almost no action sequences to entertain the modern audience - yet it still rekindles old memories with a brand new magic. 

          Perhaps, the only reason I can find, is that it is done with so much heart & soul - from the director, the actors & actresses, and perhaps even the people in the editing room. You can see the actors really put their heart into it, especially Richard Madden (as Prince Kit), who was as charming and likeable as can be, and even Lily James (Cinderella), who portrayed the character with a certain degree of flair & power. They really took me by surprise by how well they made me like (and root for) the characters.

          Kenneth Branagh surprised me with how well the tale was brought to life. There was so much energy with all the iconic moments, like the midnight clock striking and when the Prince fit the glass slipper on Cinderella. The scenes were done with so much power & drama, that as predictable as it is, still gave me chills when I saw it. 

          Furthermore, the stories that fill the gaps in between these iconic moments worked (almost) to perfection. Some scenes are just beautifully done, like when the Prince and Cinderella first met. And I have to admit, I was rooting for them to meet each other again ever since (although this is also where a bit of the setback comes in, for me). Meanwhile, every other characters also work well, like those that are meant to be hated, as are those that are meant to be likeable. And just to add, the stepsisters & stepmother are a bit too exagerrated, but their despise & stubborness provides some humorous moments.

            The bit of the setback I had was with the implausiblity of one iconic moment, and I'm not talking about the magical fairy Godmother. The magic was fine, but I'm slightly disappointed with the palace dance scene. As I said, I was rooting for the Prince and Cinderella to meet each other once again, but I had hoped there would be more complexity with the palace scene. I didn't expect it to be that quick & easy. It could have been done more cleverly, with some setbacks before they get to meet one another. And I was hoping for more (shock) reaction from Cinderella in learning of the Prince. It need not be that smooth.

          But otherwise, this movie is beautifully done. And there is also a small, sweet, surprising twist towards the end. With the exception of that, this film has nothing special or surprising to offer, but it is so magically and beautifully done with so much love, heart & soul put into it, that the iconic moments relive in your memories once again.


Good: The last paragraph properly explains why I like this film...

Bad: A slight setback with one iconic moment that could have been done better...

SCORE: 8.0

Tuesday 10 March 2015


"A thinking robot could be the end of mankind..."

          This movie turned out to be more entertaining than I'd thought. But on the other hand, the drama was less impactful than I'd initially expect. There were some exciting & funny moments, but it never really took me in. A good time in the theaters, is all.

          I never really got into the film...not until I find out that a kid robot acting like a gangster can be funny. It's the element that surprised me yet entertained this robot Chappie is brought up by a family of gangsters, and grows up to that unlike of any Artificial Intelligence ever seen before. It's funny, it's entertaining...and is probably the only reason for me to like Chappie (the robot).

          But the drama never really hit hard. Perhaps because the events happening towards the end is a little messy, and it tried to send several different moral messages to the audience, ending up with none. It tried too hard, basically. And then I have a little bit of a problem with the resolution at the end. I won't spoil it here...but I disapprove the ending, if not for one sweet moment. (I'll put a short spoiler discussion below...).

          And there was the problem of Hugh Jackman & Sigourney Weaver. Two great actors - slash - marketing material, whose characters never really integrated to the film. They were lost for a lot of the middle portion of the film, and never really looked like properly layered characters. But the gangster family (portrayed by Die Antwoord band members) and Chappie himself prove themselves the star of the show. And just as a side note, Hans Zimmer is a genius - even when the movie is less than brilliant, his music always is (brilliant).


Good: Entertaining moments, Decent main actors (& characters), Great music.

Bad: Less dramatic, Messy resolution.

SCORE: 6.5


          Now, about the resolution of the story: Not only did the drama fail because both Deon & Chappie survives...but it's also a bit far-fetched for consciousness (of a robot) to be transferred. My first initial perception was way more dramatic: that despite Chappie's software to be able to be copied....the consciousness that develop out of it could not (and is not) written in computer I thought a new Chappie could be built...but the old life would be gone. That would have been awesome, right?

          Furthermore, I could understand and accept for Deon (a human) to be able to have his consciousness transferred. But Chappie? A robot? He didn't even have neural sensors or something. My, that really disappoints me when I saw it happen on screen. The only sweet moment, which I mentioned above, is that it leads to the revelation that Chappie at one point downloaded Yo-landi's that was a nice & touching moment, but that's about it. I was very disappointed with how the other parts of the ending transpired.

Wednesday 4 March 2015

TV Review: Agent Carter

The 8-episode run of Marvel's Agent Carter series ended recently...and so here are my thoughts on them...

          As compared to Marvel's other series Agents of SHIELD, this one ultimately is much better & way more interesting. Most of it is due to the interesting chemistry between main characters Peggy Carter & Edwin Jarvis. And as a fan, it's nice to see interesting connections being made with the bigger picture - Marvel Cinematic Universe. But in the end, as a series on its own, it is fairly entertaining with some brilliant moments, and certainly worth the while.

          It is not without setbacks, however, as I have to admit that the series took its time to find its feet. The first three episodes were all about establishment, and I have to say - were relatively boring. It's not all bad, as they (first three episodes) establish the tone as well as the characters of the series, while giving us plenty of fun and laughs in between, but the story seems pretty vague and rather dull. 

          But then, from episode 4 onwards, the series begins to play with interesting reveals as well as connections to the cinematic series, and this is where the story gets interesting & substantial. As the series proceeds, the more it gets interesting, and by the end of every episode, there's always something more to look forward to. And with a short run of 8 episodes, they are able to stick with the main story arc, and therefore, allows for strong, powerful plot lines to play out in every episode.

           By the time the finale arrived, I was super excited as to how it would play out, and anticipation is high. It's a good finale, with some emotional moments, but it lacks the explosiveness & intensity that I hope it'd bring. Howard Stark is fun, as he always is from the beginning. And the final climactic scene is very emotional and well played out indeed. But there is only a short fight scene, and it lacks the energy that it had supposedly built up to. But it did left something hanging in the end, and with a very exciting easter egg for fans.


          Overall, the series works and is fun & interesting at the same time. But it did not really strike hard to both fans and general audience alike to make it a very memorable series. The series takes time to find its feet, but then works well towards the end, before a slightly less-than-spectacular finale. There are some exciting easter eggs for fans, but even general audiences will find this series quite good, and find it certainly worth the time.

Note: I find this better than Agents of SHIELD because of its focus and drama. In SHIELD, there seems to be too many things its trying to acheive and ended up achieving none. It is less dramatic and less focused overall. Meanwhile, I also liked Agent Carter more for connecting the dots of the stories that has been established in the MCU, as compared to SHIELD who is instead creating new paths and playing with themes that are not even touched yet on the MCU (i.e. Inhumans).